The company Otto, which was purchased by Uber last year for almost $680 million, made it’s first autonomous delivery recently; 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer.
The company recently released a video showcasing the event, that can be seen below, with the driver being able to move about freely in the cab of the truck whilst still moving on the highway. The Otto driver had to simply navigate the truck to the highway and once there, an ‘engage’ button was pressed and the autonomous driving was underway. The goal isn’t, yet, to replace the driver completely from the process. They are still involved in the loading, unloading, confirmation of product, and navigation to the highway. The autonomous driving is still in its infancy, but once the truck is on the highway, it can handle the road ahead on its own.
“The technology is ready to start doing these commercial pilots,” says Otto co-founder Lior Ron. “Over the next couple of years, we’ll continue to develop the tech, so it’s actually ready to encounter every condition on the road. You can imagine a future where those trucks are essentially a virtual train on a software rail on the highway.”